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  • Writer's pictureDavid Eichholtz

Women Painters and Color Abstraction: Springford, Weatherford, Gechtoff, Tryggvadottir and Graves

Recent acquisitions of paintings by women artists who explore color and abstraction, including Vivian Springford, Mary Weatherford, Sonia Gechtoff, Nina Tryggvadottir and Nancy Graves. Each artist used a different approach to apply pigment and create their unique compositions, such as painting and staining using brushes, palette knives and non-traditional tools such as rags and pouring as well as incorporating graphite, collage and experimenting with the perimeter and shape of the canvas supports. Some of the works are non-representational, or have a conceptual underpinning while others reference nature and landscapes. These women were part of a variety of important Post War movements and tendencies including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Post Minimalism and Post Modernism.

Vivian Springford Untitled, VS201 1984 Acrylic on canvas 60 x 60 Inches Signed, dated verso

Provenance: Estate of the Artist Private Collection, NY

Mary Weatherford Camille 1989 Oil, graphite and varnish on Canvas 60 x 120 Inches (Comprised of two- 60 x 60 inch canvases together) Signed, titled, dated verso Weatherford currently has a retrospective exhibition at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore college, Saratoga Springs, New York, that will travel to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, SITE Santa Fe, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Detail of one of the 2 panels:

Sonia Gechtoff Moon Rising 1989 Acrylic on canvas  60.25 x 40.25 “ Provenance: Artist Estate

Nina Tryggvadottir Abstraction (NT-OL-62-02) 1962 Oil on linen  18 x 23.94 “ Provenance: Artist Estate

Nancy Graves Untitled #2 (Blue) Acrylic and stickers on canvas 72.5 x 129 in 1973 Provenance André Emmerich Gallery Janie C. Lee Gallery Collection Art Institute Chicago Christie's New York: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 [Lot 00184], First Open Post-War Contemporary Art DuMouchelles Fine Arts Auctioneers and Estate Appraisal: [Lot 02018] December 2019 Sunday Auction Private Collection, New York Exhibited: New York, André Emmerich Gallery, Nancy Graves: New Paintings, March-April 1974. The Art Institute of Chicago, Seventy-First American Exhibition, June-August 1974, p. 24, no. 38. Literature: Speyer, A. James, Seventy-first American Please see Notes below the image.

Notes: This is a very important work of Nancy Graves. It is #2 of a series of six related works referred to as the "Shaped and Relational Paintings.” Mitchell Innes had a show of these mapping works in April of 2019.

Here is a synopsis: Untitled #1 (Green) is in a private collection Untitled #2 (Blue) was in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Deaccessioned and sold through Christie’s First Open, March 2012, lot 184. The Institute (very unfortunately) deaccessioned the painting without contacting the Foundation. Untitled #3 (Red) is in the collection of the Fort Worth Art Museum. Untitled #4 (Brown-Grey) is in the collection of The Whitney Museum. Untitled #5 (Black) is in a private collection. Untitled # 6 (White) is in the collection of the Nancy Graves Foundation The composition of each work is based on a specific NASA NIMBUS satellite recording of Earth. The Nimbus satellites were "second-generation robotic spacecraft used for meteorological research and development". The spacecraft were "designed to serve as stabilized, Earth-oriented platforms for the testing of advanced systems to sense and collect atmospheric science data. Nine NIMBUS satellites were operated between 1964 - 1978.”

As part of her research, Graves mounted 6 different NIMBUS images on six individual sheets corresponding to the six individual paintings, each rendered in a different hue.

The NGF’s Untitled #6 (White) was included in the spectacular “Mapping” exhibition held at the Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery in Chelsea this past February 2019. The gallery’s website has images and information. A catalogue accompanied the exhibition.

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